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Nvidia Disables PhysX in Presence of ATI GPU

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 15 comments


Nvidia and ATI – longtime rivals who do not play nice together. Although having both ATI and Nvidia hardware inside a PC is unlikely, there's now clear evidence trouble happens when you put the two together.

Those with the very rare configuration of having an ATI GPU for rendering graphics and a Nvidia chip for processing hardware PhysX will find themselves unable to compute.

Anyone running Nvidia driver version 186 will find PhysX acceleration disabled when ATI hardware is also present in the system, SlashGear reported.

Nvidia customer service responded to a user regarding the issue, saying, "Nvidia supports GPU accelerated Physx on NVIDIA GPUs while using NVIDIA GPUs for graphics. NVIDIA performs extensive Engineering, Development, and QA work that makes Physx a great experience for customers."

The email continued to list a couple of reasons why the Nvidia GPU would refuse to accelerate PhysX, with one of them being, of course, for business.

"For a variety of reasons – some development expense some quality assurance and some business reasons NVIDIA will not support GPU accelerated Physx with NVIDIA GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non- NVIDIA GPUs," it read. "I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused but I hope you can understand."

It's a rare setup and a rare problem – probably affecting only the most hardcore – and it's unfortunate that it's no longer an option for those wanting the best of both worlds.

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  • 6 Hide
    Herr_Koos , 29 September 2009 15:27
    Yet one more reason why I'm leaning towards an all-AMD/ATI setup for my next build. That, and NVidia are getting their butts whupped at every significant price point. Never thought I'd see the day..
  • 0 Hide
    mactronix , 29 September 2009 15:50
    This news is weeks old keep up toms
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 29 September 2009 15:56
    thats just pathetic and petty. I'm not in the situation where it will affect me, but its stupid for those that are. Might be worth just not updating your drivers, I guess? :p 
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    waxdart , 29 September 2009 16:28
    Does Nvidia have the right to scan your system for other products? At what point does this go against data privacy law?

    The card is working; but they broke it by design so they should dish out refunds.
  • 3 Hide
    digitalw , 29 September 2009 16:46
    When you buy Nvidia card, is this mentioned in the user manual?! If not.. NVIDIA is in trouble... or it will be, very soon.
  • -3 Hide
    jimishtar , 29 September 2009 17:59
    its their product, the physX, cant blame them.
  • 0 Hide
    swamprat , 29 September 2009 18:55
    Would this exclude where someone has integrated ATI graphics as well as a discrete Nvidia card, or just where the active GPU is ATI/non-Nvidia? If the former then it wouldn't be entirely uncommon I'd have thought.
    A couple of bits in the article make it seem like the less likely former option, unless it's just me being unable to read well...
  • 4 Hide
    princeofdreams , 29 September 2009 20:06
    I see a lawsuit coming, all those people who have bought a PhysX card, or bought a Nvidia card which displays the PhysiX logo and claiming to run it have legal rights to sue.

    it is one thing to refuse to support 3rd party hardware, it is completely another matter to disable legally bought hardware and deprive a customer of its use, just because they are also using a competitors piece of equipment.

    Class action anyone?
  • 0 Hide
    mactronix , 29 September 2009 20:34
    Seems only fair, this is something they have put in the drivers after the fact as far as i know so i dont see how it can be made to stick.
    Mind you by the time any of thuis came to court we willbe what 2-3 generations down the road. Omega drivers may well work anyone know if there are any third party drivers that get around the issue ?
  • 1 Hide
    Reynod , 29 September 2009 20:46
    I wouldn't touch an Nvidia chipset board now ... they are second rate and down there with all of the cheap rubbish.

    Thanks Markus !!

    NVidia Chipsets are the past and they will shortly be discontinued as the company gets itself out of financial trife by focusing on core business in GPGPU and discrete cards with the GT220 (40nm) spin and hopefully the GT300 shipping by Feb.

    Unless they can one up ARM and Intel by creating a combined CPU / GPU on a single chip with a second chips as a chipset to compete in the ultraportable / palm area of the market ... and the power envelope would be the most interesting area of competition.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , 30 September 2009 03:54
    if they get to sell their cr*p to people who also have ati hardware, where's the problem?! It's not like customers cloned or pirated nvidia cards.... this is just dumb.

    If it were me i'd sell nvidia cr*p on ebay or if i only just got it, return it back to the shop claming it does not work, one less customer, you understand? No one's f*cking with me and i ain't having none of their bullsh*t.

  • 1 Hide
    mm0zct , 30 September 2009 06:42
    I have a old nvidia 6800 (to get stereoscopic gaming in the older class of games the new drivers don't support) next to my ati 3850 (the iz3d and tridef drivers work for newer games with this). I'm quite into the gpgpu stuff and had been considering getting an nvidia card to put alongside my ati card to do comparisons and use the nvidia one for CUDA based things, but now there is no way (even thought i could use the older driver) i would buy a new nvidia card. i don't want to deal with a company with that attitude.

    If you get into the gpgpu business (that's you nvidia), you have to accept you card might not be used for graphics!
  • 0 Hide
    Fox Montage , 30 September 2009 18:09
    Surely they're shooting themselves in the foot? I know they shouldn't have to go out of their way to "support it", but aren't they denying themselvs of potential sales of people who would buy a cheap nvidia gpu for physx, (even if only slightly)?
  • 0 Hide
    bestbeast , 11 May 2010 23:22
    I overclocked my old acer aspire laptop a few months ago cpu and gpu and it played all games for first time well to excellent. Even crysis although on low graphics settings. UT3 had such bright neon lights, I felt like a kid in disney land. Any way, I got spoiled with this new experience, and decided to upgrade to a desktop to enjoy speed AND high graphics settings. So I did, and OC'd again, but my ati 5970 although fast and detailed to max, just didnt have the neon lights that my little oc'd 8600M GS showed. I was bummed, until I heard that ati + NV PHYSX would restore my flashy colours and lights. I bought a cheap gt 220 1 GB just for this. I installed all the drivers and patches and heres the fantastic news and the bad news. The NV card took over the burden of physics and the ati worked BETTER!!! Very sharp, fast and colourfull. UT3 was a TRIP!!!And here was the surprise. ALL temps dropped 10 degrees celcius. Both cards and cpu. This is on stock cooling, and I wondered now just how high I can OC after also adding my new H50. And the fans became silent ALL of them. THATS how well they all worked together!!!So then I rebooted and tried to enter bios to OC higher and.......No bios display. Just windows starting up normally after a black delayed display. At the store where I bought the 220 they told me that they had fried a whole system from experimenting with this combo after 6 fun months. Nvidia time bomb virus. So I removed nvidia drivers and card, back to normal.... But Im bummed out again.
  • 0 Hide
    bestbeast , 11 May 2010 23:30
    Im gonna return the card and get a cheaper 5850 to crossfire with my 5970. Im sure ati is gonna come up with a driver update to give me back my neon lights sooner or later so Nvidia can shove it...